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Jesus told the Jews and Jesus tells us today, “Stop your murmuring”. To murmur is not just to badmouth somebody, to murmur is not just to reject. To murmur is to express disbelief, a strong disbelief about what God, about what somebody has done for us. In the Rule of St. Benedict, murmuring is condemned as a serious crime to the community. St. Benedict said that murmurers prey on the weak ones. Those who murmur destroy children in the faith. Those who murmur scandalize those who are already wavering. Murmuring destroys peace. Those who murmur destroy harmony and brotherhood in the family, in the Church, and in the community. Considering that peace is the greatest gift God has given us, St. Benedict said, those who murmur destroy peace. Therefore those who murmur destroy the greatest gift God has given us.
Stop murmuring, the Lord says.
There were two types of people who murmur. The first type were the Jews in the Gospel. They were complaining. They were murmuring against Jesus and they were murmuring to one another against Jesus. They were murmuring with one another, but Jesus was not present as they were murmuring, although Jesus was the object of their murmuring. And Jesus told them, “Stop it. If you have anything against me, talk to me. Stop it. Stop your murmuring. If you have no faith in me, I will prove to you by which you will believe in me.”
Those were the first types of murmurers. They murmured against a person who was absent.
Elijah was also murmuring against God. Elijah was tired. He felt abused and neglected. He felt taken for granted by no less than God Himself. He was told to be a prophet, and he proclaimed God’s word to Jezebel, the queen. But Jezebel started to run after his neck. Elijah said, “Lord, this is enough, take my life. I want to die.” But the beauty with old Elijah is that when he wanted to murmur, he went to the Mountain of God and murmured in the presence of God. He did not do it in the presence of the community; he did not do it in the presence of his family, his relatives and friends. He did it only in the presence of God.
And how did God respond? God fed him. God gave him a drink in the desert so that he would be refreshed.
We have many reasons for being discontented. We have many reasons for being dissatisfied. And, indeed, many of our complaints can be valid. But if we should complain, let us first complain before God and I assure you, after that, you will not have any reason to complain to other people because God Himself will give you joy to the full.
Lord, You are aware of our dissatisfaction and discontent. We ask You for the gift of honesty and sincerity to call our murmuring for what it is.
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